Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient form of medicine that originated in China thousands of years ago and has evolved into a complete holistic care system. It is a non-invasive and natural approach to health and healing that recognizes the integrity of the whole person. It complements conventional medicine by addressing the underlying cause of illness and dysfunction in the body. In addition to treating the symptoms of your condition, acupuncture stimulates and supports the body’s own healing ability. Treatments are customized to address the needs of each individual taking into consideration a person’s unique physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environmental and lifestyle factors.
It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems. It employs a variety of techniques involving insertion and manipulation of very thin needles on the body's surface, acupressure, warming techniques like moxabustion and infrared, and the diagnosis of tongue, skin, eyes.
At the core of this ancient medicine is the philosophy that Qi (pronounced “chee”), or vital energy, flows throughout the body and regulates the bodily functions. Qi is the supreme regulator of all the activities of the body, including blood flow, brain and nervous system activity; it animates the body and protects it from illness, pain and disease. Disruption of the flow of Qi is believed to be responsible for the rise of symptoms and disease. Treatment focuses on correcting imbalances in the flow of Qi by stimulation of specific anatomical areas under the skin called acupuncture points; channels known as meridians connect these points. Acupuncture is used to encourage natural healing, improve energy, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of affected areas of the body. Because Qi regulates not only our physical processes, but our mental and emotional processes as well, Acupuncture can be a potent tool for harmonizing psychological and emotional imbalances as well as physical pain, disease and dysfunction.
Most people who experience Acupuncture can start to feel the effects of the treatment immediately, and the effect is cumulative, bringing the body and energy system into greater and greater alignment with every treatment. One of the most profound and surprising effects of Acupuncture is the feeling of profound well-being that most people experience with treatment.
What conditions can it treat?
Acupuncture can treat many conditions and alleviate many symptoms, often even ones you didn’t come in for in the first place. For example you may come in for back pain, but notice that you feel more energetic and less tired after a few treatments. This is because acupuncture helps to correct many imbalances that occur in the body, which may be contributing to your pain or condition. Below are some of the common conditions successfully treated with acupuncture:
Muscular & Neurological Disorders:
sports injuries, low back pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, whiplash, carpal tunnel, sciatica, trigeminal neuralgia, post-stroke paralysis, neck pain, knee pain, acute/chronic pain, TMJ, Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia
asthma, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, insomnia, skin disorders, digestive problems, urinary tract infections,depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, chronic fatigue, low energy,
colds and flu, sinusitis, headaches, migraines, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Vertigo, Meniere’s Disease, nausea,
Gastrointestinal Conditions: Constipation, Diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
endometriosis, infertility, menopausal imbalances, PMS, Menstrual irregularity, Amenorrhea (no period), Dysmenorrhea (painful periods), uterine fibroids, morning sickness, other pregnancy related conditions, postpartum conditions.
smoking cessation, weight loss, pain management, post-operative pain, adverse reactions to radiation/chemotherapy, addictive behaviours, paediatric conditions.
How much training does a Registered Acupuncturist complete?
BC requires licensing of all Registered Acupuncturists. It is regulated under the Health Professions Act and Registrants must be licensed with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC (CTCMA). In BC a Registered Acupuncturist undergoes a minimum of 3 years of full-time accredited acupuncture education in addition to 2 years of prerequisite university sciences. After completing 5 years of education, they must pass a National Board Exam in order to be licensed to practice. The title ‘Acupuncturist’ is restricted to Registered Acupuncturists (R.Ac) licensed by the CTCMA.
Registered Acupuncturists must renew their license every year. The continuing education requirements for Registered Acupuncturists are amongst the highest of all the regulated health professions in BC.
What does it feel like?
People find treatment to be a gentle and relaxing experience. The needles are as thin as a strand of hair so the sensation is very mild. You may feel a slight prick as it is inserted but most times you will not feel the insertion at all. Stephanie’s technique is very gentle and many people come specifically for this reason, especially those who are nervous or trying it for the first time. Often people find it so relaxing they will fall asleep during treatment.
What if I’m afraid of needles?
Don’t worry, we are very gentle and will do everything possible to ensure you are comfortable at all times. Stephanie is also trained and able to offer other alternative therapy options in place of acupuncture needles if needles are not optimal for treatment. Most people who are nervous are pleasantly surprised at how relaxing and comfortable it is.
How many treatments will it take?
Most acute conditions see improvement with 3 to 4 treatments. Chronic conditions can require further treatments. After the 4th treatment we will re-assess to see where you are at and if you require additional treatments. Sometimes only on treatment is necessary to improve your condition. Stephanie will work with you to develop a treatment plan that best meets your needs and helps you to achieve the results you are looking for.
How long does a treatment take?
The initial assessment and treatment takes approximately an hour and a half. Subsequent treatments are 45 to 60 minutes.
What happens during my first appointment?
Your first appointment will include the initial assessment as well as acupuncture treatment. During your first visit, you will be asked to fill out a medical history and answer a series of questions about your health. A treatment plan will be developed based on your comfort level and particular needs. The plan may also include supplement suggestions, exercises and dietary recommendations. We will ensure your comfort and answer any questions you may have before starting the acupuncture treatment.
What should I wear?
It is best to wear loose comfortable clothing. A short sleeved shirt and pants that can easily be rolled up to the knee are great as it allows easier access to the arms and lower legs if needed.
What will happen after a treatment?
After treatment some people notice an immediate reduction in pain or symptoms. Others will notice a mild aggravation of symptoms for a few hours. For example if you have shoulder pain you may notice your shoulder feels heavy and achy for 2-3 hours. This is normal and it will feel better the next day. The majority of people report feeling calm and relaxed after their treatment.
Are acupuncture needles sterile?
Yes. Each needle is sterile and individually packaged. They are used only once and then properly disposed of in a bio-hazard waste container.
I’m healthy. Can I still come for acupuncture?
Everybody can benefit from acupuncture. The greatest strength of Traditional Chinese Medicine is prevention. Just as taking your car for regular oil changes prolongs its life; balancing the body and reducing
Additional Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture has gained popularity and credibility also due to several additional advantages:
lack of side-effects
highly cost-effective, especially if used early in the course of a disease
easily combines with, complements and enhances other forms of therapy, such as Massage therapy, Physiotherapy, and Psychotherapy thus promoting an integrated approach to obtain and maintain optimal health and well being.
What is Cupping?
Cupping is a technique that stimulates acupoints by applying suction via a glass or silicone cup in which a partial vacuum has been created. This produces a congestion of blood locally and is often used for low back pain, sprains, soft tissue injuries as well as respiratory conditions such as asthma.
What is Moxibustion?
Moxibustion is a technique in which moxa wool or stick comprised of the herb wormwood (Artemisia vulgaris) is lit and used to warm acupoints. Moxibustion is used to enhance the effectiveness of a treatment.
Is Acupuncture Covered by MSP?
MSP provides partial coverage for individuals on premium assistance.
Acupuncture is included in most insurance and extended medical plans as well as for Blue Cross recipients. If you are uncertain of the extent of your coverage, please contact your extended medical plan provider.